Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

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Can An Adult Be Adopted in Florida?

Under Florida law, only persons over 18 years of age can be adopted by another adult.  Adult adoptions usually involve family members, like a step-parent who has stood in loco parentis (in the place of the parent).  The adult adoption is also more likely with a “close relative”, which is defined as someone who is the person’s grandparent, great-grandparent, adult nephew or niece, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, or adult great uncle or great aunt.

In some cases, the adoptive parent may be a non-relative. Differing from other states, Florida does not have a specified age requirement for an adult to adopt another person over the age of 18.

The petition for an adult adoption is filed in the circuit court in the county where the adoptive parent(s) reside.  The petition will include the identifying information of the parties, as well as the relationship of the parties.  The consent of the adult adoptee is required, and the adult adoptee’s parents have a right to be notified. 

If the parents are married, Florida law requires both of them to be the adoptive parents. It is not possible for one to adopt and the spouse to not adopt.

An adult adoption is a great way to create a permanent legal family structure that has already been in place emotionally as well as make estate planning decisions.  

The core changes in the relationship are three. For inheritance purposes, an adult adoption creates in the parties the same rights and responsibilities to each other as though the adoptee was born to the adoptive parent. So our intestate laws, probate and inheritance laws will apply between the parties.

Secondly, adult adoption can help ensure perpetual care when in a circumstance of diminished capacity. Adopting an adult with special needs may enable him to qualify for lifetime care under family insurance.

Finally, the parent-child relationship is legalized and formalized. In these cases, there is already a relationship. The proceedings via our Circuit Court officially recognize that relationship. There is an emotional as well as legal benefit to saying the person you have always called “Mom” is your actual Mother under the law. 

Adult adoptions trigger several significant legal changes. This will include issuance of a new birth certificate, bearing the adoptive parents’ names. The adopted child may (and usually does) change his last name to that of his newly adopted parents. 

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients on their estate planning needs. Please reach out to us at our new headquarters at 203 Avenue A, NW, Suite, 101, Winter Haven, Florida 33881 at 863.294.1114.

Cynthia Rignanese